Thomas Chatterton Williams wrote a thing for The Atlantic: “The French Are in a Panic Over le Wokisme.” I was fully prepared not to read it until I saw the subtitle: “The nation’s vehement rejection of identity politics made me recalibrate my own views about woke ideology.”
Williams, who is a regular at The Atlantic, an AEI fellow and a humanities professor, is a black man from New Jersey currently living in France. He drafted the 2020 open letter in Harper’s Magazine that kicked off a wave of anti-woke panic among many elite American writers, academics and media figures.
I believe there’s a kernel of truth to the complaints laid out in the letter. Preening, self-righteous jerks on Twitter and other platforms have weaponized baying online mobs to unjustly damage reputations and destroy livelihoods. And just as they were in 1988 (as I can personally attest), young people today who are sincerely confronting injustices can be condescending and dogmatic in ways that offend their elders and, worse, are ultimately destructive to their causes.
All that said, le wokisme is hardly the Reign of Terror in the U.S. There’s a reason elite woke-complainers refer to the same handful of incidents repeatedly. They probably fell on the recent Hamline University story like hoboes on a ham sandwich, grateful to have a bloody shirt that did not belong to David Shor to wave.
The anti-woke panic Williams and his fellow obsessives ginned up was weaponized by elected right-wingers and influencers, who used the excuse to go on real-life censorship, persecution and indoctrination sprees that are actively harming millions of people right now.
This is why the subtitle of Williams’ piece grabbed my attention. Was a leading figure in the anti-woke movement’s origin story going to admit he helped odious right-wing extremists build mountains out of mole hills? As it turns out, nope.
Williams plods around the issue on both sides of the Atlantic (the ocean one, not the magazine) like a pratfalling Inspector Clouseau, pointing at “woke”-inspired New York Times headlines that offended French readers without one goddamn word about what’s happening in places like Florida and Texas.
The epiphanette that inspires the subtitle arrives, ironically enough, at a 2021 gathering of 100-plus fancy “public intellectuals” on the former estate of Alexis de Tocqueville. The subject of the discussion was “the crisis of Western democracies,” specifically, le wokisme.
Williams notes he was one of a handful of people of color at the event, along with French journalist and social justice activist Rokhaya Diallo. In a panel discussion, Diallo suggested that privilege might blind some of the assembled galaxy brains to certain perspectives. Williams reports that the august attendees then began “hissing” at Diallo, which Williams found disturbing.
His conclusion? Williams still thinks he’s right, but he now owns that maybe there’s a tiny kernel of truth behind le wokisme too. Le sigh. But maybe it’s a start.
So unwoke. Hissss.
Comes with the territory.
Antiwokeism is to political thought as crypto is to economics. Discuss.
The difference between now and 88 is social media interactions. Everyone is in everyone else’s virtual face.
The instant, muscle-twitch response to the word “canceled” should be “You mean like Colin Kaepernick?” End of discussion.
“Woke” is defined as any activity by someone to the left of Tucker Carlson which is a pale shadow of the policies of censorship, indoctrination, and active harassment of opponents that has long been a key right-wing tactic for controlling the public discourse.
Too busy admiring the ape NFTs.
The Moar You Know
I don’t know where these people get the energy. I have enough to deal with in my day to day life.
Brings new meaning to “Hey you, get offa my cloud”, doesn’t it?
@waspuppet: And that’s the real reason that right wingers are so panicked – only the right wingnuts are allowed to “cancel” people
It’s ironic that people like Williams ignore what’s happening in Florida. DeSantis and his board of “purgers” are open about wanting to make the whole Florida public school and university system a “safe space” for conservatives! They are speech suppressors more than any kids at a liberal university, and unlike the Oberlin Student Council, they have the power to do it.
I reckon I’m Le Clueless because no matter how much I read about woke (pretty much here and Wonkette) I still don’t know who’s in favor or against what. And I don’t really care so don’t explain it to me.
Book banning, New College, and Colin Kaepernick etc I understand.
In fairness, though, in France le wokisme usually leads to people losing their heads.
1) Getting forgetful in my dotage.
Normally around New Year’s time I empty the plastic ice cube trays and give them an annual coat of cooking oil spray, then rinse well and refill.
Completely spaced it out until today. Situation has been remedied.
2) Description enough to pique curiosity. Coming this month on the 14th to MHz Choice, a German mystery procedural set in Ireland, Irish Crime.
Meanwhile will be dipping the tootsies into Marnow Murders, which on (digital) paper sounds fascinating.
@Baud: People here have lost their fucking minds. Same kind of thing.
Le Pen and National Rally are not a rejection of identity politics, any more than Republicans are a rejection of identity politics. They merely represent the identity of the ethnic majority (“the norm”), and as such are blind to the fact that they are engaging in identity politics on behalf of their chosen group. To defend “Frenchness” or “Real Americans” is identity politics.
@frosty: same here. It feels that timelines cross whenever there’s a discussion about this stuff, and soon enough can’t make our heads or tails anymore who is anti-X, who’s anti-anti-X, and who’s just generally irritated, not having any particular position.
Its helpful to return to particular things, like book banning, the firing of a single professor, etc.
I think the excesses would have evened out because that’s what happens with progress movements- they get less dogmatic as they become more mainstream.
I just don’t think we needed an army of WokeBusters who complain constantly and are as insufferable about “speech” and “debate” as the 22 year old social workers are about wokeness.
They picked an easy foe to vanquish- and- shocker! this group of influential people with huge platforms BEAT the Oblerlin Student Council. Victory is theirs!
They don’t go after DeSantis because that’s a fight they can’t win in a walk. I can beat my 20 year old Lefty son in a debate too and I MUST, because I am the Guardian Of Liberalism and I will DEFINE it! Fucking unbearable. I’ll take the earnest but PITA social worker over any of these people. She works harder.
“Identity politics” is also a term that has been so warped I’m not sure what’s going on anymore. I find so few honest-to-dog instances of it.
@The Moar You Know:
That is their day-to-day life.
We’rew in Year Four of these essays. The market must be glutted by now, right?
How many anti woke warriors can prestigious publications possibly employ?
@Omnes Omnibus: At least half a dozen times a day I find myself saying ” people have lost their fucking minds.”
Wtf with the mass hysteria that seems to be taking over
Eta: “Seems” is probably because it gets so much press.
Only when it’s after business hours at the gun store.
That had to feature the worst PowerPoint in history.
@MagdaInBlack: The internet allows people to nutpick and boost the signal of the most shocking ways of phrasing any ideas. “Defund the police” comes to mind.
Their argument on racism is remarkably similiar to John Roberts argument in the SCOTUS case that gutted the Voting Rights Act.
They’re not even remotely original.
Read it yourself– see if you recognize the entire NYTimes editorial team in the underlying theory. The thing is, they’re conservatives. They might be happier and complain less if they just offocially announced.
Dorothy A. Winsor
@MagdaInBlack: Me too. It used to be that when I said some politician was crazy, I meant I disagreed. Now it means I think they’ve lost touch with reality
The only thing I agree with them on is I hate internet pile ons. They’re gross and people should stop doing it. It just isn’t necessary. I would think they could toughen up and handle it since they’re always bleating about speech, but I agree they shouldn’t have to. Just don’t be mean and piling on is mean.
“Defund the elephant.”
I’m in. :)
In terms of political branding this attack on being “woke” is as bad or worse than “defund the police.”
Are they arguing they would prefer to be led through this world by those that are asleep? Do they aspire to be the party of Rip Van Winkle?
Off topic, but Holy Akron! (Holy Toledo! seems overdone). I just watched an interview with the repugnant New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, rapid-fire screeching his way through an incoherent criticism of the Biden Administration.
If Chimpanzees had the power of speech, they would sound like him. Had the interview been live, I’m sure he would have jumped over the desk to try and pick fleas off of Jonathan Karl. Republican Governors tend to be extraordinarily icky, but in uniquely different ways.
For sure. But also, we’ve come a long way since 1988. Of course, not far enough. But, I mean, I was in high school in the late 90s, and I remember my (gay, Mexican) best friend getting his ass kicked. Within five years after that incident, kids at that same high school were bringing same-sex dates to Homecoming and prom.
So young people can be overly zealous, news at eleven. So there have been some “edge cases” where the action taken probably wasn’t as judicious as it should have been, and I might have done something differently had I been in a position of influence. There always are. But the overall change that the “woke” are bringing is the right one. I’d rather we err on the side of too-woke than not-woke-enough.
Howzabout (sticking with Ohio) Holy Pee Pee?
@Almost Retired: Sounds like Sununu’s running for President, and so is auditioning for the Republican base. Or more exactly, auditioning for donors, showing his base game.
I’ve read he was running, and this tends to confirm it.
Apparently Gov. Smokey Eye Huckabee has issued executive orders that, in addition to keeping kids – who of course love dress-up and make-believe – from seeing adults dress up in different genders and fancy clothes while reading books, is also banning the word Latinx.
Will this dude in France bother to discuss LeCencorisme? It’s one thing for over-earnest 20-somethings (or 50-something twitter folks, etc) to get heated up about this or that private citizen overstep. But when the top executive of a state starts deciding on the specific words that are allowed (or, as we’ve seen elsewhere, working to ban things like writing affirmatively about climate change, shoreline loss, etc) we’re already squarely into actual government censorship.
What Williams and his ilk are doing is blowing giant chaff releases over non-governmental effort to curb certain words or shame certain people, which gives huge space for elected officials to act in real, authoritarian and even fascist ways. He should be roundly criticized for giving greater power to the oppressors.
I love the insanely detailed critiques of “DEI training” in the workplace too. It is news to these people that corporate trainings are mostly dumb. They thought they were like a Harvard seminar, except held in the Holiday Inn.
Branch out! Look at some other trainings! It’s a giant business and has been for 40 years. I feel that if made their inquiry broader that would lend some perspective and perhaps they could refrain from starting moral panics every 15 minutes over whatever cover your ass blather corporate culture came up with this season.
@Kay: The moral panics are the point. It’s the circus in the whole ‘bread and circus’ effort to distract from RW inability* to actually govern.
*Sometimes it’s more an unwillingness. But it mostly reflects that the RW wants to grift, and governing gets in the way of the buckets of cash.
What is particularly weird about Mr. Williams’ schtick is that the amount of casual racism, sexism and every other ism among everyday French citizens would appall the members of the Chamber of Commerce in the smallest town in Mississippi.
When Enrico Fermi announced the discovery/creation of two new elements (misinterpreted data, as it turned out) Mussolini pushed for one of them to be named Fascisium, which name Fermi rejected out of hand.
@MagdaInBlack: “Seems” is because they pay propagandists to make it seem that way.
@Geminid: Oh God, I hope Sununu is not running. It will be like I’m 4 years old again and watching the Wizard of Oz – and having to leave the room every time the Wicked Witch is on.
I cannot sit through another interview with him.
“Corporate training seminars wil not beat racism” They did an ENTRE essay on that- I just saw one – there were probably 50.
No shit. Is there an “I” in team? How misled have I been?
So thankful our public intellectuals have taken this on, to the exclusion of every other problem and topic.
@Kay: anti-woke intellectualism is a dressed-up version of the underlying conservative belief that “I can say whatever the hell I want and you can’t stop me,” because heaven forbid putting in the empathy of understanding why marginalized and under-represented groups are asking (and sometimes demanding!) that you change.
Some of the French can get into a fuss over the corrosive influence of le hot dog and le week end and will be soon legislating that le wokeism should be l’éveilléisme. And there will be as many counter-counter manifs as there are counter manifs. Demonstrating is what the French do.
@Kay: I have to wonder, too….how many people are going to “DEI training”? I have never had anything even close to that in my professional career. My industry is a pretty diverse one, too.
OTOH, I’ve had superintendents and construction project managers who have been on my projects straight up say that they will never allow anyone who they suspect to be LGBT on their job sites because they “don’t want to deal with drama”. There is so much racist, sexist, homophobic bullshit in construction.
As someone who vividly remembers the whole “Charlie Hebdo” affair and the extreme Islamophobia involved, I’m not shocked that France has it’s own freak-out over “Woke”ness.
Most people that bitch about woke are just upset they can’t be racist anymore.
People do go overboard time to time though. Teacher kept telling us how our kid’s Indian values would be respected. It took me saying American twice as a correction and my wife correcting her once before she got the hint.
Oh, so he’s from the Jersey Chattertons. New York Chattertons don’t so much as acknowledge their existence.
With a handle like that, growing up to become a schmuck seems predetermined.
@RaflW: Not to defend the spawn of the Huckabeast, but the executive order only bans usage of Latinx in government documents. It does not ban it in other circumstances. I doubt it would be legal if she tried.
@Baud: But you have to admit, “epiphanette” is a great coinage!
I thought the multiverse could contain only one groveling John McWhorter.
How naive I am.
Has become perennially on the nose.
Poor dude, cancelled by Fermi and then cancelled again by the Allied army!
@Omnes Omnibus: What makes me incendiary about this is that it’s 95% street activists who’ve said Defund the Police. But even while watching the innocuous Washington Week on PBS, one of the top DC journalists used the trope of Democrats (he doesn’t say which ones) saying “Defund” to make his flabby both-sides observation that everything is broken and we’re all talking past each other.
He acknowledged that the GOP en masse are making actual bad-faith arguments. But he could just throw up his hands because some random Democrat said ‘Defund’ so we’re just stuck. And the other panelists agreed.
It’s so dispiriting. So few are willing to interrogate the ways that their obstruction gets sold to all of us as a both-sides-are-awful narrative. Even while Biden’s economic policies are resulting in the lowest unemployment rate since 1969!
There’s objective political evidence that both sides are not frozen and incapable of promulgating and passing effective legislation. But that’s still the master narrative of DC journos. Gaaah.
There is no more sensitive spot to poke than the majority culture’s narrative.
Question it, and you’re questioning the right of some to exploit others.
The protectorate of the currently dominant culture knows where that ends, because that’s where their predecessors began.
What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us?
Off topic but apparently George Santos has been credibly accused of an act of sexual harassment since being sworn in as a member of Congress. Dude just can’t stop digging. It’s another man accusing him so that’ll make things interesting for the Squeaker and his don’t say gay caucus.
But that dude is comedy gold.
They heard that people were forced to undergo this training, apparently unaware that “training” is not voluntary in the workplace. Okay, so the exclusive focus on DEI traning is suspicious to me! I admit this. They had zero interest in stupid corporate training until it touched on bias in the workplace and all of a sudden they’re poring over Powerpoints. Come on.
The article in question is excellent and well-written, in my opinion.
One key point is a line where the author quotes Jean-Michel Blanquer: “In the history of ideas, it’s not the first time that, when you push an idea to the extreme, it becomes the contrary.” Wokeism, taken to an extreme, undermines itself. So does universalism.
The other takeaway quote is this: “I remain convinced that an authentically color-blind society—one that recognizes histories of difference but refuses to fetishize or reproduce them—is the destination we must aim for. Either we achieve genuine universalism or we destroy ourselves as a consequence of our mutual resentment and suspicion.”
A really challenging, great article, well worth the time and effort needed to plow through it.
@What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us?:
I knew there was something bad going to land because Republicans pretended he voluntarily stepped down from committees last week. Guffaw. Our county commissioners are slicker than these guys.
@What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us?: At least Matt Schlapp has discovered that a man-grope will impact your TV invites. We’ll see what this may mean for Santos.
@What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us?
Ah, for the good old days of the wide stance.
The IBEW actually has diversity training because building trades are horribly racist and sexist. Just a fact! As you know. The male journeymen can no longer tell the female apprentices they want a pole dance, which is obviously creeping fascism/marxism/whatever you don’t like and a violation of the First Amendment.
Oh, but the females can tell the males they want a pole dance? Unfair!
@Dorothy A. Winsor: ” Fkn lunatics” has gotten a lot of usage this week.
@ian: Agree, and it’s not only the far right in France that practices identity politics. In French schools, hijab and yarmulkes are banned, but crosses are allowed as long as they are small. (link)
French schools do not allow children to bring bag lunches from home (link), and schools do not provide halal or kosher lunches. (link) To provide a decent lunch for observant Jews and Muslims, it would not be necessary to buy halal or kosher meat- a vegetarian lunch would work just fine. (Or you could allow Muslims, Jews, and vegetarians to bring bag lunches.) President Macron defended this atrocity.
Truly, I’m not a Francophobe but making small children go hungry is an extreme of identity politics that very few Americans- whether woke or right wing- would advocate.
Dorothy A. Winsor
I was required to take training in things like sexual harrassment.
Only the ones with a lot of z’s and/or w’s in their names.
On pronouns, it dawned on me yesterday: anyone who uses “Y’all” to refer to a singular person really has no right to object to the use of “They/Them” for any reason.
@ian: That still looks like censorship to me.
@Dorothy A. Winsor:
Did it improve your harassment skills?
Eta: “Seems” is probably because it gets so much press.
It’s the press that is the because.
We have NEWS orgs that really aren’t anything that is in any way news because the internet is such a great place for all the lack of openness and news out there…… They, along with some TV channels and newspapers, like faux not news and the FTFNYT, spread bull and shit 24 hrs a day. And they rile up anyone who hate with every breath or think that guns are the most important thing in the world.
They might not do it for identity politics, but the American right absolutely advocates making children go hungry.
Thanks for the links regarding France.
@Andrya: I’m being flippant, but I suspect that to many French people, a vegetarian lunch is verging on an atrocity.
(And yes, I know that there are French dishes that are meatless. But five days a week? Depriving kids of ham, beef, etc throughout the week? Incroyable! How can they learn?)
@Baud: Agreed. End of discussion.
@Kay: I don’t think it’s the trainings that they really care about. It’s the fact that along with the trainings, there are rules about low-key racism, misogyny etc., and these trainings mean that they will be held accountable if they break those rules and inflict micro-aggressions on members of marginalized groups. They are mad that they are no longer allowed to catcall pretty girls, make homophobic jokes and ask to touch black peoples’ hair etc. That’s what the real fight is about, imo.
This recent story might be loosely related to this “woke” topic.
“Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Urbandale, Iowa has been fined $10,000 for mistakenly sending a live resident to a funeral home in a body bag. The funeral director had a shock when he opened it. “
The “special” care center was said to be mortified by their mistake.
Can’t hardly keep up with the cornucopia of lies (many delineated inside link).
@ian: I absolutely agree that the American right wants to cut food stamps and school lunches- I just meant that they would not starve children from middle class families because they kept halal, kosher, or were vegetarian. I first heard of the problem with French school lunches in the magazine “Vegetarian Times” about 25 years ago, so it’s been going on a long time.
“Let them eat crudités.”
“Anyone who uses ‘woke’ as a pejorative will turn out to be a fuckhead.”
Godwin’s second law.
@RaflW: Kind of depends on what the definition of ‘censorship’ is. I don’t like her decision, but when you work for the government you have to do what the boss says (provided it is within a legal framework). As a counterpoint, Obama banned the use of one of the variations of the N word in government documents. Was that censorship? Executive offices have the power to decide what language the branches under their control use.
In this case, Ms. Huckabee-Sanders is being a troll. But I don’t think it rises to the case of censorship, unless we define the term so broadly that government employees and agencies can’t be told what to write by their bosses.
In the battle of bigots versus overthinkers, I’m gonna side withe the overthinkers every time. But that don’t mean I’m not going to wish there was another team on the field.
They’re realizing that other people think they’re assholes. Before, they comfortably lived their lives without that realization, and they don’t like it.
I don’t have an Atlantic membership so I can’t read the article. But can someone tell me: does it perpetuate the practice of finding a couple, extremely rare, trivial examples of Woke Overreach and treat them as the equivalent to the countless racist/misogynist micro aggressions and actual legal oppression of marginalized people? This is one of those things that always drives me mad about articles like this. They so often BothSides these things and create a ridiculous False Equivalence. Woke Overreach is a handful of mosquitoes in your backyard. Systemic Oppression is Malaria itself. Treating the two as even remotely similar in the damage they do and threat they pose, is complete bullshit.
@Will: out of curiosity what was the context of that? Indian values are American values? I’m just trying understand that conversation.
I don’t know about Indian values, but Indian civilization contribution to the global order should be respected. I think a lot of folks are unaware of the contributions that non-white societies have contributed to both western and global societies.
Indian value system is a mixed bag IMHO. I’ve seen it scar too many kids especially girls.
Several, in fact.
Mr. P., Wokie Wokie.
We also love tearing down our own.
Brown woman that practices a different religion. Oh my gosh, she was a fan of the currently elected leader of the largest democracy in the world, she must be a Hindu nationalist that wants to kill or enslave all non Hindus!!!!
It’s probably trollish. Who knows if the state government ever used Latinx? But I agree it’s not censorship to require a “preferred” spelling.
@RaflW: You’re quite right about French cuisine being meat-centered- and “incroyable” is an accurate description of the attitude . Visiting France in the late 1970s I had a lot of trouble finding vegetarian food- in fact I mostly just bought bread, cheese and apples at groceries. However, there is no excuse for not allowing Muslim, Jewish and vegetarian children to bring bag lunches from home.
Also, in France, although I had straight As in four years of high school French, I was constantly sneered at for my American accent. I found myself muttering under my breath “if it weren’t for us Americans, you all would be speaking GERMAN!”
@kent: “Extremism is bad” and “sometimes people go too far” aren’t earth-shattering insights — I think almost everyone agrees with that. I can understand why people recoil at the notion that we should aim for a “colorblind society.” It sounds fair on the surface, but that idea is used by authoritarian wannabees like Ron DeSantis to perpetuate white supremacy. (Seriously, the indoctrination materials produced by Christianist hacks for Florida public school students use that phrase.)
I do agree with the bit about not “fetishizing” differences, but no one with any real power is doing that. My problem with Williams and fellow travelers is that they’ve fetishized a fringe issue in such a way that honest-to-dog fascists are using it to abridge academic freedom/free speech and persecute vulnerable people.
Dorothy A. Winsor
@Baud: That was a widely shared joke!
The funniest thing was we all got emails about taking this training, and the email system dumped them into everyone’s spam because they mentioned sex
Inquiring minds want to know if French school cafeterias also offer wine.
Sister Golden Bear
It’s comparable to how anti-trans activist claim there are legions of “detransitioners” who went back to the gender they were assigned at birth,* but only seem to cite a single individual over and over and over.
*While this does occasionally happen, in my experience they vast majority of the time is because the detransitioner needed to do so to survive (e.g. be able to get work), or to preserve a marriage, or other reasons other than them renouncing their true identity. And if someone does transition and then detransition because they discover it isn’t right for them, so what? And for context, even if some goes as far as getting bottom surgery — which heavily gatekept by medical professional, the documented regret rate is 2% (almost the lowest for any surgery), and mostly related to poor surgical outcomes, as it’s needless to say a complicated surgery.
@Baud: They are mad because they don’t take the training seriously and get fired.
(Someone had to point it out.)
Sister Golden Bear
The larger companies I’ve worked for have required annual anti-harassment training, an online course, which did include race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. If you squint just right, I suppose the reactionaries could call that DEI training. But the corporations viewed it as “we want to avoid being sued” training, just like I had to take various other kinds of training, e.g. financial security procedures.
“Woke” must be giving “death tax” a run for it’s money on a word or phrase that sets Righties hair on fire.
No , not really.
@cain: it was a parent teacher conference. The teacher is a good one, but I think (and this is me guessing) her knowing my wife is Indian made her think she needed to say this when talking about the school year and how she handles the class.
It didn’t upset us. We understand they are walking on egg shells. But we don’t want our children to be Indian. We want them to be American. We’d rather teachers focus on we are the same rather than different.
@Sister Golden Bear: The stat I love is that more % of people regret their nose jobs than regret gender-affirming surgeries.
@NotMax: Both spellings are acceptable.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce recruiter used to periodically come by my store to entice me to sign up.
Finally hit upon “I’ll join when your organization stops using ‘death tax.'”
That marked the last time he darkened my door.
Better him than daddy John “Prolapsed Pig Rectum” Sununununununuuuuuuuu. Who is (by his own admission) the smartest guy in every room he ever enters. Or has been in.
That fucking guy gives Tech Tools a bad name.
Waaay off topic (it’s an open thread, right?), but from a thread on Ukrainian affairs, the internet served me a short film of a Russian man punching his trained camel for disobedience. It’s a Bactrian, with two humps.
In the next minute of film, the camel proceeds to pick the man up by the scruff of his neck, fling him around like a rag-doll, and then kill him. Like, a lot of blood on the ground.
Holy moly, do *not* anger your camel. If it’s the last thing you do. It may be the last thing you do.
As someone points out in comments, large herbivores evolved to defend themselves from large carnivores, e.g. wolves. You, my dear hairless primate, are not as tough as a wolf.
Yikes. So, I’m telling you about this rather than linking, because the footage is not edifying, other than as a general lesson: don’t punch your camel. Or someone else’s camel, either.
Fuck yes. I remember being at a hotel/convention center where they had a mini obstacle course/Jungle Jim area for some trust hooey seminar for coworkers. I tried to imagine climbing the ropes and rope stairs and being made to let go and reach out for one of my coworkers any of whom would surely have the strength and agility to help me out before tumbling into the sandbox like some corporate Icarus.
@oldster: “Punch camel” now removed from my bucket list.
“That’ll learn ya.”
– Pirate Jenny, The Threepenny Opera
Correct. Unless you want to put it at the very end of the list, in which case, punch away.
There’s no shame in spanking your monkey however.
@Sister Golden Bear:
I’ve had that, too. I wouldn’t consider it DEI training. It has nothing to do with educating anyone about differences in people, just about drawing clearer boundaries around what legal harassment is and isn’t. And yes, it’s just to protect their asses from lawsuits.
It just isn’t a view that is in any way under represented or silenced. It’s the view of the 6/3 majority on the US Supreme Court. Right now it’s the view of the majority in the US House and 25 governors.
These views have some very powerful proponents, proponents with the ability to enshrine into law, see, Voting Rights Act and (soon) the end of affirmative action. Presenting this as some brave contrarian new line of thinking just isn’t true.
Is punch camel what rambunctious kids in a vehicle’s back seat in Saudi Arabia play in place of punch bug?
James E Powell
If they weren’t using “defund” to set up their “both sides,” they’d find something else or fabricate something else. PBS is going to “both sides” everything because that’s how PBS stays in business.
@Baud: Glad it wasn’t me with that went there in a choking the chicken kinda way
probably not, but all the same my monkey used to blush and hang its head afterwards.
Wait, what are we talking about here?
@James E Powell
PBS = Promoting Both Sides.
Didn’t Peter Gabriel sing about that?
@ian: I’m actually kind of on the fence about this. On one hand, I hate everything that Possum Queen does on principle. On the other hand, I really do not care for the word Latinx, which I consider to be a form of ill-considered cultural imperialism. And as I understand it, the majority of Latino/Latina Americans agree with me. That said, I am actually curious now as to whether Latinx was actually used in the Arkansas government document documents before she banned it as an anti-wokeism stunt.
James E Powell
Never saw that one before. I will have to remember it.
Cf. NPR = Nice Polite Republicans.
It’s Sunday, so another day for George Santos to use his piehole.
Last week I read he claimed to be a Broadway producer.
The correct technical term for the army of the “unwoke” is Zombies.
Think about it.
I didn’t make it all the way through America Aflame before I had to return it to the library (mostly because I seem to have the attention span of a gnat these days), but one thing I did notice from reading that book is how much the panics and anti-abolitionist arguments of the day seem to echo what’s going on today.
Oh, and there was a group of young Whig-turning-Republican types who called themselves The Wide-Awakes. 19th-century Wokeism! Oh, wo(k)e is me! I wonder how many editorials there were screeching about the moral hazards of Wide-Awakeism!
@oldgold: Did they actually use the word mortified? Because that would be hilarious.
@Sister Golden Bear: Yes, anti-harassment training is an annual requirement for everyone (including consultants and contractors) at the large company I work for. Along with IT security, safety, HIPAA/privacy, etc.
Let me guess, they wanna whomp down hard on Muslim immigrants, right?
@NotMax: I’m guessing they sneak into Abdul’s Camel Lot (Camelot!) at night for a rousing bout of camel-tipping.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with aiming for a color blind society in which the people are actually color blind. My parents bore this into me as a young child. My friendship circles have always been very diverse, so much so I thought it was the norm until we started to get older and touch on our country’s history of racism.
Because of this viewpoint, I’ve always jumped at opportunities to broaden my social experience. It’s how I ended up living in India for several years. Is funny how some in India saw me as the enemy because my color blindness also applied to religion and caste, I hired people I thought were best. It made people uncomfortable. I had to fire one guy because he couldn’t handle 1) a woman and 2) a lower caste to be his boss. He asked me if I knew who his daddy was and I said I didn’t give a fuck. He was gone and never heard from him or his daddy.
I regularly had some of the best performing teams in both India and the States, and I would mark that entirely due to me being color blind and hiring the best person which led to very diverse teams.
“Woke” will win out because it allows them to be “wink and nod” racist. And they will flock to any chance at being “respectfully” racist like flies on shit.
They also see that there are people who are not assholes and are not thought of as assholes by others as they are. In response, they pride themselves on being assholes and try to perfect it to the nth degree. Because they like being assholes; they just don’t like being thought of or called one.
Are you kidding? Right-wingers are *always* advocating that those little socialist brats go hungry in school if they can’t afford to buy their lunches! Wasn’t it Kay who was talking about how some school in Ohio was telling kids they had to go hungry or only have peanut-butter sandwiches if they had an outstanding lunch tab?
@ian: Ah, I see you got there before me.
Via David Austin Walsh, this far-right article spells out the gameplan.
And here’s the key:
Obviously quite a few states with partial or full D control won’t go this route, but FL is surely the proving grounds for acceleration. And the R’s still have more state-by-state power than Dems.
@Will: Colorblind Society: Great as an aspirational end goal but absolutely terrible (and completely counterproductive) as a method of getting there.
@suzanne: in the Medical field, we’ve had our “woke” training regarding proper use of pronouns in order to make patients comfortable and forthcoming about what their symptoms and concerns are. Same is true for religious and ethnic, political differences. The idea is to treat the patient and accept the patient for who they are and try and restore their health. Funny in the same breath, we also get workplace violence training because working in a medical setting causes people to be violent due to the fact that the inclusive nature of the gig means that we have people with mental issues, cultural issues on top of their medical ones.
@Citizen Alan: I understand that most Latinos don’t like “Latinx” but I am extremely suspicious of people who go off on it obsessively as if it were more than a niche usage in the first place. I think there’s a attempt to gin up an anti-trans panic by exploiting intersectional concerns.
Most Black folks I know would be ecstatic to actually live in a color blind society. Where majority Black schools inner city schools have equal funding and resources compared to white suburban schools. Where Black people are treated equally in job applications, rental applications, within the criminal justice system, by police, etc.
@Sure Lurkalot: God, I always hated those stupid ‘trust/team building’ exercises-such a waste of time. But someone’s pocket sure got lined with $$$ for pushing those on workplaces.
@NotMax: It’s like an Andy Kaufman bit, almost.
@Kent: The usual move is to just claim we DO live in a colorblind society and that anyone seeking remedies is just a “reverse racist”. There’s willful denial at the center.
They don’t even get that far, because you’re talking about system equity. The plan is to have individuals become “colorblind” – there will be so many colorblind individuals we won’t need any protections to ensure or promote equity. If you’re John Roberts the way to get there is to tear down or blow up the legal protections that he believes cause us not to become colorblind.
It’s a view. It’s just not a silenced or original view. The wokesters don’t agree with this view. They think the systems are inequitable and need a legal framework and protections.
@piratedan: My company recently rebranded and rolled out new email signatures. There is a specific place to list your preferred pronouns, if you so choose. Other than that, basic competency around not being being a douchebag, such as calling people what they want to be called, is assumed.
Honestly, most people don’t even know it is an LGBT thing. Especially not Hispanics. They just think it is yet another weird Gringo bastardization of their language like all the countless other examples.
And what makes it dumb is that all of Spanish is gendered. So where does it end? My wife is a Hispanic doctor. Should she be referred to a “Doctorx” instead of “Doctora” I am a teacher. Should I be called “Maestrx” instead of “Maestro” or “professorx” instead of professor”?
@Kent: Agreed, our friends just want the fair chance to have what white people have. They don’t want a black national anthem. They don’t want a lot of the superficial things the leading edge of the left can sometimes focus on. They just want to not be on the back foot immediately with the police. They don’t want to be worrying if the person that interviewed them thought about their color. They want to have just as fair of a shake at the bank. They just want the color of their skin not to matter in decision making at all.
Mike in NC
Just read where Sarah Huckabee Sanders will give the Republican response to President Biden’s State of the Union address. I guess I’m still young enough to someday live to hear her getting a tongue bath from the media about her own presidential ambitions. Yuck.
Was thirsty Marco Rubio not available?
@Kay: Great point.
@Matt McIrvin: I know of at least one vote, and I am assuming two that voted Republican in Nevada because of this Latinx stuff. One of our close friends moved out Nevada, he got a good mechanical engineering job out there. They are both Latino. They both were die hard Democrats when they lived in PA. I watched him morph over the past year as he became livid at “white people telling us what we are” or “white people rewriting our language” with the Latinx stuff.
Which ALWAYS leads straight back to racism.
For example, if Black workers are not hired and promoted within an organization at the same rate as White workers there are two possible explanations, the non-racist one and the racist one.
The non-racist explanation is that there are systemic obstacles in the organization that make it more difficult for Black workers to get hired and advance.
The racist explanation is that Black workers are just racially or culturally inferior or less capable and that explains why they aren’t hired and promoted.
It is telling that these supposedly “colorblind” folks eagerly jump to the racist explanation to explain every inequity in our society.
@Miss Bianca: You may have already read this but, Freethinkers by Susan Jacoby, gives a good overview of American secularism and the ongoing, never-ending culture wars. Thought it was an interesting book.
@UncleEbeneezer: If we don’t collapse into an authoritarian dystopia in the next few years, I have moderately high hopes that the generation now in high school will, far more than any before, get closer to a colorblind status.
Kids my niece’s age don’t seem to give a rip about wether their friends are poor, or gay, or super nerdy weird, or Latino or Black, or whatever. I’m sure that’s not the case across the board, but it appears to me to be the rather differently better than when I was her age … ummm … 40 years ago.
Teacher here. I agree. I am constantly surprised at how good the current generation is. I have not lost my memory and I remember how vicious HS life way back in the late 1970s and early 1980s towards anyone at all who did not conform to the majority norms. Kids today are so very much better. And those who aren’t know basically to just get along and go along.
Being around kids keeps me hopeful for the future.
Nah, I think they pride themselves on being thought of as bullies or assholes. And by being called out on it, they can feed into their victimhood.
@Mike in NC: Thirsty lil Marco has passed the zenith of his usefulness to the GOP. His Cuban, Lantinx (hah) identity was handy in 2013 when that Black guy was in the well of the House.
The instrument of perceived leverage this time is to have a white woman on, since that’s the demo the GOP has to shore up most desperately.
@RaflW: A lot of people forget that most of the upper echelons of a corporation are still filled with boomers. Upper management is also mostly boomers or Gen X. I think think that old adage of very slowly and then suddenly all at once is going to apply as Millennials move into these jobs more and more. The generation currently in HS and college will then turbo charge that even more.
Dorothy A. Winsor
@suzanne: There’s a nice exchange in Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club. One character, Elizabeth, addresses another as “WPC De Freitas.”
@James E Powell
Most likely because I just came up with it on the spot.
@suzanne: Is there a selection option for Time Lord?
@Will: This morning I saw a new approval poll for Biden. Gen X (approximately, see below) was two percent more disapproving than older Americans. I know I disliked the bulk of my classmates in HS and college, but damn, they’ve remained a serious disappointment.
Under 30s think Biden is doing great.
@Miss Bianca: I also answered Ian.
If the young vote, they can change everything.
@Mike in NC:
Why would anyone want to do this? I get the theory – the assignment goes, not to a party leader, but to an up-and-comer, and it’s a great opportunity for exposure, to become better known and make a name for themselves. And yet – has anyone ever really ‘won’ the SOTU response? To my recollection, having the SOTU response has always seemed to result in a career setback, if not a career killer. Does each person convince themselves, ‘this time it will be different’?
I call bullpuckey.
Every last person I’m acquainted with in that cohort (which includes your truly) skews the other way.
Anecdata, but then again I don’t live in all that rarefied a stratum.
I’ve been using that for years, maybe even here.
@JoyceH: I just hope we don’t have multiple Dem responses as well, like we’ve had in the past.
@Matt McIrvin: Oh yeah. Hence my last sentence. Because I would be utterly unsurprised if the word Latinx has never been used on an Arkansas government document before that Satanic bitch “banned” it.
:cough: Bobby Jindal :cough:
Disappeared from the scene faster than spit on a hot griddle.
@RaflW: That Gen-X sure is an interesting demographic politically. I never really paid any attention to them until I started to notice their divergent polling.
My theory is that they have a chip on their shoulders from being ignored by Boomers like me.
James E Powell
Because you got talent
Old enough for their formative years to be influenced by Reagan and G.H.W. Bush.
@Kent: TBH, I’d always assumed it was a feminist thing rather than LGBT thing. Use x instead of o of a at the end of a word to make it gender neutral when the subject person’s gender is unknown or could include both males and females. I suppose recognizing the existence of gender fluid individuals was/is a consideration but Spanish is already capable of accommodating transgender individuals: A woman is mujer, and to the extent it’s necessary to point out that a particular woman is a trans woman, she is mujer trangenero.,
James E Powell
Has anyone done a deeper look into why the 45-64 set disapproves? It’s almost 2 to 1 against, so it must be some pretty important things.
J R in WV
IIRC, Herr Mussolini was actually cancelled by a mob of partisan anti-fascist Italians, his countrymen. And then strung up from a canopy of a local plaza, along with a young mistress and some fellow Fascists. Caught as he tried to flee to Switzerland.
Im pretty sure when the guy means he wants a genuinely colorblind society, he’s not speaking in a coded way for white supremacy. (The dude isn’t even white himself.) I agree that the guy deserves some boos for giving fuel to the fire of actual white supremacists or something close enough to it. I myself share his wish, acknowledge that the US actually has done a decent — and incomplete, far from finished — job. To the extent it hasn’t, it’s a permanent challenge that we have to work on. We’re not an ethno-state that can largely rest on its laurels about these issues.
@JoyceH: I don’t remember anyone ever giving what I or even most commentors considered to be a strong response. I just remember the bad ones that were career setbacks. I will never think of Rubio without thinking about his inability to drink a glass of water without looking like a freak. And I will never forget Bobby Jindal mocking the idea of the government spending money on volcano monitoring and then a volcano in Alaska erupting the next week.
Mike in NC
@J R in WV: The very fate that Trump managed to escape. A shame that history cannot repeat itself.
@J R in WV
As I put it during the live blogging here re: Rubio, the face that launched a thousand sips.
@Will: Yeah, and I’ve heard many people in various cultures characterize gay rights as a Western colonialist/imperialist imposition, too. Maybe it means these things have to be promoted sensitively but I it doesn’t necessarily mean automatically conceding either.
@Geminid: We do. I remember reading a book about GenX when I was in my early 20s. (I think it was GenX: Ctrl Alt Del or something like that. It predicted that as our cohort aged, we would overall become fairly conservative. It attributed this conservativism to our extreme individualism and cynicism that resulted from watching the Silent Generation that bore us and the Boomers who were our older siblings fuck everything up during our childhood. Growing up in Mississippi, if I’d had an average IQ and been 100% hetero, I’d probably be a church-going bigot who thought Dems were communist groomers like the majority of my family does.
That’s sort of what I thought – in Spanish, ‘las ninas’ is always ‘the girls’, but ‘los ninos’ could mean ‘the boys’ or ‘the children’. So I suppose ‘Latinos’ could be all men or all Latin-people, while ‘Latinas’ is always exclusively women. I thought Latinx was a way around that. But it’s clunky, a baffler to pronounce, and un-Spanish.
@Geminid: Speaking as a GenXer: Most of us are complete shitheads, that’s the explanation. The ones who weren’t Reagan Youth are often sort of South Park vulgar libertarians whose politics are “leave me alone, it’s dumb to care about things”.
And even if they’re leftists or liberals, they’re never going to be uncool enough to approve of a liberal politician; they’re going to hate him from the left. We didn’t use the word “cringe” but it’s the same basic idea. We all hated those dorks in the student government.
The youth seem to be much less afraid of earnestness than we are.
@Jesse: What is exasperating is that people use “color blind society” to mean different things. When a liberal says it, we mean that no one should face any inherent disadvantages on account of skin color. When conservatives use it, they mean that non-whites should shut up about systemic racism.
@NotMax: Yeah, that certainly would be a factor. I was kind of joking. Although I can see how Gen-Xers might have felt overshadowed and ignored by the Boomers who outnumbered them, and dominated politics as the Gen-Xers came of age.
The generation is fairly unknown to me. My friends are all Boomers and their kids are for the most part Millenials or Zs. I have seen Gen-Xers commenting about themselves on Twitter, like when Xeni Jardin (b. 1970) tweeted:
Jardin identified with Punk culture in her teens, but by 50 had become a liberal alarmed by the right wing threat to political institutions. I expect some of her Punk friends went the other way in their politics, or at least some of the men did.
Latinx is abominable when Latins serves the same purpose.
Will now resume my stint yelling at cloudx.
@JoyceH: The pronunciation issue never struck me until this discussion. I’d always assumed it was pronounced “Latin X,” but that’s not really Spanish. And yet, I can’t think of any Spanish words in which the letter X appears after a consonant, so I have no idea what the proper Spanish pronunciation would be.
@Almost Retired: I too, have heard that Sununu is running. Ugh.
The thing is, Spanish is quirky just like most other languages.
Sometimes noun endings follow masculine and feminine endings of “o” and “a” like “”Latino” and “Latina” in which the gender-neutral term is the masculine one
Sometimes there is no noun ending for the masculine and gender neutral term but an “a” is added to make it feminine. For example, “doctor” versus “doctora” or “professor” vs “professora”
Sometimes the noun ending is the same for both and the same gendered noun ending is used for both sexes. Like “policia” Both male and female police are “policia” Except that if we are talking about the police force in general we say “la policia” but if we are talking about a specific police officer we say “el policia”
Trying to erase gender from a gendered language is not only futile, it is stupid and arrogant.
And if you just want to make up a new English word to replace a gendered Spanish word that you disapprove of, come up with something better than Latinx, which trust me, is not an actual Spanish word. The actual existing non-gendered English term is Latin. Why not use that? It would sound a lot less dumb. And actually make sense. We talk about the Latin Grammys for example, not the Latino Grammys or the Latinx Grammys. Which, by the way, are presented by the Latin Recording Academy, not the Latino Recording Academy or the Latinx Recording Academy.
@Citizen Alan: A prominent young New York Congresswoman used “Latine” instead of Latinx in some tweets a few weeks ago. Some people razzed her about it, but I’ve noticed that every politician’s Twitter following seems to have its claque of detractors.
I don’t think Latine will catch on either though, at least not as a matter of general usage.
I KNOW the term “Asian American” is not a creation of white people; we did it ourselves, and I keep correcting people on that.
I was introduced to the term “Latinx” a fair time ago by other Latin folks, particularly those who are transgendered or non binary.
Which is why I think of “Latinx is an invention of white people” as yet again another case of white people taking credit for stuff they didn’t do.
If that’s not the preferred term, that’s fine—it’s self-determination, after all. But let’s not obscure the LGBTQ origins of the term, either (which may also play a part in its being rejected).
You would rather have DeSantis, Haley, Trump, and Pence take up all the oxygen?
The advantage to having Sununu running is that it will either (1) cause him to debase himself to appeal to the MAGA faithful, which will make him look worse in New England, or (2) call out DeSantis and Trump for who they are. Which someone needs to do and the more the better.
Two’s a crowd on my cloud, baby.
@Kent: When it comes to Republican Presidential candidates, I say the more, the merrier. Bring on Pompeo, Pence, Christie, Sununu, Haley, and all the rest of the goons.
“Come on in, the water’s warm!”
I know Republican apparatchiks fear that a crowded field might enable Trump to shamble to the nomination by means of plurality victories. But that’s very much a Republican problem and not mine.
Sister Golden Bear
@NotMax: Actually Latinx was created to be the equivalent of non-binary “they” to refer to individuals. Possibly influenced by the “X” gender allowed on ID by states like CA
I’ve seen proposals floated to update it to “Latine” since that’s more consistent with Spanish sounds. But it’s not for me to decide.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
There is certainly a lot of stupid stuff going on from the left – like the attempts to purge the language of wrong words like it’s going solve issues like racism or voilance. But I always though the CRT professors were on the right tract to winning hearts and minds when they accuse their opponents of unconscious bias rather than being pure evil.
@Geminid: Yep, they will make their choice and then we will deal with whichever fuckface they choose.
@Omnes Omnibus: I just want to see them spend piles of money tearing each other down and end up with a lot of hard feelings.
@Kent: Obviously this decision is for the Latino/a/x community. But as people on the outside, we should note that when there’s a discussion about inclusive language we are supposed to defer to the excluded minority, not the dominant majority of the community. We don’t let Heterosexual people decide the proper language to be inclusive of the LGBTQ minority. We don’t defer to the White majority on what kind of language is most inclusive for Black People/POC. We don’t do that for reasons that are completely fucking obvious: because the majority has a stake/incentive to maintain the systems of oppression that benefit them and will use everything, right on down to arguments about appropriate language, to do so. We’ve seen this throughout history. The majority loves to refuse simple language/name changes demanded by the oppressed minority, in order to keep those people in their place. White People objected to using “African-American” for decades. When they ask to be called “BlacK” the white majority has a problem with that too. Men freaked out over “Miss/Ms./Mizz” for women. Men object to hyphens and maiden names. Straight people think “LGBTQIA” is just too many letters! Language is ALWAYS a fight! Etc. And it’s important to note who fights for what.
The whole point of “Latinx” is to challenge the myth of the Gender Binary and all the LGBTQ oppression that it enables, and to be more inclusive of Transgender/NB people. Spanish is a gendered language BECAUSE OF the assumption of a Gender Binary. Outside of Conservative, TERFs, I have never seen a Trans/NB member of that community pulling the “we must prioritize the tradition of the gendered terms ‘Latino/a’ over the inclusion of Trans/NB people.” Never. It’s only CISGENDER people from that community who are clutching their pearls over the sanctity/tradition of using “Latino/a” and using it to shame anyone who uses “Latinx.” Of course, virulent Transphobes love to signal boost those arguments whichI think speaks volumes for why we should resist any urges to do the same if we really care about Trans/NB inclusion. And we absolutely should not go around telling Trans/NB people that they are being disrespectful by using inclusive language.
Aided by TFG blowing up the Republican Party for the sake of his ego.
Sister Golden Bear
@Citizen Alan: Yeah, that sounds reasonable to me. Plus Gen X was hugely disparaged and mocked during our formative years by our elders, including Boomers. Some of whom actually told me to my face that our activism would never compare to what they did in the ‘60s. Also remember “slackers” anyone, and being told we’d never amount to anything, despite having to hustle harder since we were the first generation to do worst than our parents.
Plus being the original latch key generation left to fend for itself (in my case by Silent parents).
Plus watching the programs that helped Boomers get drastically cut (usually by Silenus or Greatest Gen).
So yeah I definitely see that as part the roots of our generation’s cynicism and individualism.
@SFAW: No, Pter Gabriel sang about Jacques! …you know, Jacques the Monkey.
@Enhanced Voting Techniques:
Well, I don’t think they ever claimed that it would “solve” racism violence. They think language is really important though – the anti-wokesters do too. The anti-wokesters think woke language will destroy debate and free expression and that it’s actuallly creating more racism. Those are some powerful words!
So they both think language is super important. They must, or they wouldn’t write 50 columns about “Latinex”.
Mai Naem mobile
@JoyceH: maybe SHS’s daddy convinced her to do it since thinks he can grift off the inevitable mocking she’ll get from Twitter, late night shows etc. Its always a grift.
@delphinium: I’ve heard of Freethinkers, but never read it. I’ll have to check it out, thanks!
I work in a Large Corporation and have to go thro these “trainings”every year or couple of years. The diversity training is mainly imploring us to respect everyone — it has expanded to include national origin, ages — yoots and the kids, differently-abled in addition to the usual suspects. There used to be more griping about it but seems to have died down now. My gripe is there’s way too many of them –TrainingIndustrialComplex run amok.
Why do we continually have to re-wake people through trainings and awareness? Because such bad ideas such discrimination and exploitation that make people poor, policy brutality and sexual harassment and abuse will always be with us in this country and the world. So, we should expose, argue, and persuade against them, but with the full acceptance that such bad ideas will come back. They always do. And it is exhausting.
But it actually IS for you and me and everyone else to decide. That is if you want people to use it. Language is participatory.
And in point of fact, the actual correct unisex English version of Latino would simply be “Latin” as in the Latin Grammys.
Liberals and lefties do stupid things. It’s part of the trial and error of progress. The response to it is almost always more damaging than the original problem.
@Kay: I work for a big computer company. I have to take diversity training every year. I also have to take business ethics, foreign trade regulations, security, and other subjects. These days, they are web based classes that take an hour or so. I don’t think the diversity training turns a racist/sexist/homophobe into a liberal, but it lets them know to keep it to themselves and not be an asshole at work.
@James E Powell: It’s because we’re a bunch of fascists.
@Matt McIrvin: Or what you said. I’ve managed to avoid it most of of my life because my preferred cohort was on the radical/feminist/queer side of the equation, but I’ve come to realize as I’ve gotten older and more conservative myself, (although I still identify as a proud small-l liberal), that those of my age cohort who *weren’t* lefties have become extreme right-wing assholes. (And in some cases, the extreme lefties have become Tankies and therefore just as obnoxious as the righties.)
Yeah, I blame Reagan and Reaganism.
@Baud: We have to be perfect even when that would require a logical contradiction. And even if we were perfect, they’d just make up some lies. The other side can get away with any horrible shit they make up on the spur of the moment.
Gen X is the last of the really white dominant generations. They probably feel the loss of that more than even boomers do.
@Kent: I’m content to let communities decide what’s appropriate for them, as far as vernacular goes. I think we agree that it helps when communicating for there to be some form of standard, and that one should be derived from consensus rather than authority. But when it comes to marginalized categories rather than normative ones, consensus has to come from below.
Not sure I’ll be able to stick around for any replies, but did anyone else catch the Sunday shows this week or last? I don’t watch them that often, but it seems there’s been a shift toward featuring one or more prominent loonies. Last week, Meet The Press featured a nervous looking Chuck Todd interviewing an equally nervous looking Gym Jordan, who struck me as very out of place, and this week, Face The Nation let Ted Cruz dance around the enormous holes in his sloppily crafted lies, even though the truth was out there for all to see.
Another personal gripe: I wish these shows would make it a point to correct the loonies whenever they use Democrat party, saying “excuse me, Senator, but it’s pronounced “Democratic party”. Prolly no big deal in the larger scheme of things, but that’s something I’d like to see. ;)
Meh, I manage to achieve it.
But you’re right, it will never be an even playing field. The trick for us is learning how to self-criticize without unwittingly giving fuel to right wing haters. That’s something a lot of liberals failed when it came to “cancel culture.”
Sure, but in point of fact, most of the Latino community thinks it is stupid and ridiculous and nothing more than yet another Gringo bastardization of their language like so many others. No different than how it used to make my wife’s ears cringe when we lived in Texas and she would hear white people say Gwad-uh-LOOP” for Guadalupe or Del-VAL-ay for “Del Valle” or Braz-us for Brazos and so forth.
@Jesse: Relatedly, this afternoon Reveal rebroadcast their episode on White Power on NPR. The words are warped and stretched and twisted beyond recognition. Intentionally.
Some guy in Tennessee was advocating m—–ing Haliburton’s and Tesla’s board, but he’s not talking about starting anything – oh no – it’s self defense, you see.
It’s all tribal.
Once you cross the line and join their tribe, you accept whatever the leaders of the tribe want to do. Because they’re the leaders. And it’s your tribe.
Really dangerous stuff.
And people need to understand where the us – and – them language leads when carried too far. Being riled up is dangerous to clear thinking, and dangerous to civil society.
@JWR: I’ve started going with Publican Party. Partly because in Biblicial terms and times, a publican was a tax collector, then as despised a profession among the high-and-mighty holy as it is now.
I feel exactly the same way. Let communities decide for themselves. And the community in question (the Hispanic community) very much prefers Latino to Latinx as any survey will tell you.
What “Latinx” reminds me of is “people of color” –I got chewed out once for using it (or, actually, just being in a conversation that used it) by a Native Hawaiian who considered it highly offensive, condescending white people language, but the people I learned it from were not white. Always thought it was slightly odd, but if they preferred it… eh, you’re not going to please everybody.
@Kent: Note that I said “communities”, not “the community”. Even within a label (and whose label was it in the first place?), those with different local backgrounds will disagree. There is no authoritative monolith that speaks for all. That’s the idea.
@suzanne: A while ago my employer (city government) sent out an email saying we could put our preferred pronouns in our email signature if we wanted to. There was no requirement to do it. A few days after it came out one of my co-workers asked me if I saw it. I said yeah, I vaguely remembered it. She was upset about them even suggesting it. I told her I thought it was no big deal because they weren’t making us do it, and that I know change is hard for people. I think you can’t underestimate the amount of people who get upset at even the thought of a change like this.
Dorothy A. Winsor
There’s been some discussion over whether 3 Chinese balloons passed over the country during the Trump administration, with the Trump administration saying it didn’t happen. There’s an article at Raw Story saying it did happen but the Pentagon didn’t tell the White House. I’m not sure what I think of that.
Dorothy A. Winsor
@Soprano2: When Mr DAW was working at a John Deere engineering facility, a co-worker transitioned to female. The company sent around instructions on how employees were expected to behave, i.e. well.
@Mike in NC: My totally shallow, admittedly lookist response to this is that if she hasn’t gotten that walleye fixed it’s a mistake, because all most people will see is that, and they won’t remember a thing she says. Would be true of a man with the same condition.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
Pretty much. I’m Gen X as well. My generation is as a whole less racist than the Boomers, but definitely conservative. Part of it is the Reagan & Rambo ra-ra influences growing up. Part of it is that while we were growing up women’s rights and sexual harrassment were coming to the fore, but were still mostly a joke to our elders. A LOT of Gen X’rs are straight up misogynists. Plus, gay rights didn’t really start having traction until we were adults (or just about to be), so homophobia was the norm when we were young. I will add that misogyny and homophobia/transphobia are pretty tightly linked, ESPECIALLY in my generation.
Cynicism is particularly high. We heard all these stories from our grandparents about war, deprivation, and how they built this prosperous society, only to watch our spoiled, raised in prosperous times Greed IS GOOD parents drive it into a ditch. We were children when divorce went from being rare to being very common. Plus, they hadn’t come out with all that research on how bitter divorce hurts kids, so they honestly weren’t focusing much on what it would do to them. Most of us were latch key kids with the 180 degree opposite of helicopter parents. Gen X women went through a LOT of sexual harrassment in their working lives and are pretty bitter and hardened about it. Gen X men are really mad that expectations about women’s role in society changed as they were growing up, making it harder for ‘traditional, manly’ men to find women would will be properly submissive and housewifey. Both roll their eyes at how emotive and sensitive younger people are at situations that are milder than what they lived through. A lot of GOP messaging speaks directly to that.
@Matt McIrvin: OK, I know this one, too, and it was created by people of color.
Condescending it may be, and ill suited for some groups, but it wasn’t created by white people, and is part of the evolution of Third World people and people of the global majority (and, yeah, I know there are black and brown folks who hate those terms, too).
@Soprano2: You know, for that person, I’m inclined to make it a point to include my pronouns in my sig.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
That is me as well.
“Wake up, sheeple!”
“(Oops…) Go back to sleep, sheeple!”
Wait and see how mad they get when they find out there is a trend of young women scouring the aisles of the local Home Depot for their generation’s version of said man.
The young woman of Glendale will be disappointed when they learn Bill is spoken for.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
@Will: Oh they won’t be mad about it.. they’ll think they have a chance! Remember, Gen X’rs like me also grew up with movies where it was normal for the 40 or 50-something guy to have older teen to 20-something women swooning all over him. They won’t get mad until those younger women reject them.
@Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony: oh gawd you are right, that’ll put the tik tok fad out right away. Couple old dudes approaching them while they are streaming is going to make for some hilarious viewing though.
Yeah, that works for me. Thx!
Holy Waterbucket batman! Also Aspergillum.
God’s Wounds is the origin of Zounds!
@Geminid: The polling looks exactly like the people I went to college with ’83-87. Of course, that’s also why I don’t live in Texas any more.
And if I think about it, also most of my suburban highschool cohort. Probably my suburban Pittsburgh middle school cohort too.
Way more Alex P Keatons (and a fair share of rednecks, frankly) than I’d want to remember.
Sure. And if I am speaking to or about transgender or gender-fluid Hispanics in my community I’m happy to use Latinx if that if what they prefer. And if I am speaking to or about Guatemalan or Mexican immigrants in my community I’m happy to use Latino, which is what they prefer
It is kind of like pronouns. I’m happy to use they/them with someone who identifies with those pronouns. But we don’t force those pronouns on everyone simply because the normal he/she pronouns are not gender neutral.
@Kent: Yup. Making the statement is not the same as doing the work.
Jane Elliott taught her 3rd graders about that in 1968.
We’ll be colorblind when we care about skin color and ethnicity as little as we do about eye color.
“No blue eyed people allowed.”
@Kay: it’s coincidental that you should mention young social workers today. My husband is a not-so-young social worker, and yesterday we went to the funeral of a man he went to graduate school with. They got their MASWs in 1970, weeks after Kent State. In the aftermath of the shooting, one of their professors challenged them to come up with a way to apply their education. As my husband said, their training was to “start where the client is”, and they formed a group of students who went to church groups and garden clubs and anywhere else they could contact to discuss the antiwar movement with their fellow Americans, whatever their beliefs might be, to try to increase understanding. I don’t know what young social workers do now, but these have been lifelong values for the social workers I know. That’s what my husband shared at the funeral yesterday.
@JWR: Did Gym Jordan on MTP at least put a fucking suit jacket on in that rather formal setting?
@Kent: Sure, as long as we’re understood that it’s not about shoving wokeness down anyone’s throat, but about who’s allowed to speak for themselves.
Self-description is the root of consensus as I understand it. A lot becomes possible once we can draw a line around that. Some of the objection is to it becoming possible at all, but that’s the nature of supremacy and what motivates us to abolish it.
As someone very active in the underground music/punk scene in Austin TX 1989-95, yeah my GenX friends & peers were faced with a big, fast learning curve when I came out. To their credit they got their shit together fast, and with apologies.
@Geminid: At least in Austin back then, the punk scene was pretty liberal-libertarian, even as it mostly eschewed many Democrats as not radical enough (and likely had low propensity to vote). But the seeds of veganism, feminism etc were there. Look at a band like Fugazi, who maybe took themselves a little too seriously (or Industrial/EDM band Consolidated) but were injecting a surprising level of consciousness into their lyrics as well as production, distribution and tour values.
@gwangung: This guy had an idiosyncratic theory about where “people of color” came from–he thought whites had invented it because they thought he was too dumb not to be offended by the word “minority”. So he found it infantilizing.
I do think there’s a bit of a language pipeline where activists or academics in some marginalized community make up a term, then white liberals who are trying to be au courant and use inclusive language pick it up, and then some wider community of marginalized people hear it for the first time from the white liberals and respond: what the fuck are the whites on about now. (And that’s the opportunity for the worst people in the world to jump in and say, see, the liberals aren’t looking out for your best interests; they’re colonizing your language with woke craziness again.)
@Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony: I don’t know if you followed Jardin on Twitter, but if you didn’t I think you would have appreciated her.
Jardin had a large Twitter following, but she bailed in October when it became clear that Musk was about to buy Twitter. As a journalist she was very much involved in elite tech culture and was published by outlets such as Wired and Boing!Boing!. She got to hobnob with tech titans at Edge Foundation dinners, where she met among others, Edge Foundation sponsor Jeffrey Epstein.
Jardin retired from journalism a few years ago. Her plans, she said, “include weed and shitposting.” But one of her focuses since then was the dark side of the elite tech world she had orbited for years, and while I don’t think she knew Musk she knew the type all too well.
I haven’t heard that Jardin resumed her social media presence. She had some real health challenges and may have decided it was a good time to focus on wellness.
@Soprano2: That stuff isn’t trivial. I had surgery to get mine fixed, in childhood, and it didn’t really take 100%. Still go kinda Jean-Paul Sartre when I’m tired.
@sab: Jordan seems to be wearing a coat and tie more these days.
Maybe Representative Greene told that the shirtsleeves look was tacky. She would know.
Mention of the old punk daze has me feeling nostalgic.
I’m reminded of a great, funny moment around 1990. This guy Brit that I knew and was in the music scene, though not a musician (I was a wannabe engineer/sound person then) and had gone to Thailand for a few months.
As it happens it was the sort of crux time when I came out, got a boyfriend, and many of my musician and ancillary punk friends adjusted and moved quickly to get over it. I didn’t lose a single friendship that I can recall, and the childish gay jokes ceased immediately.
So, Brit flies back, and there’s a big welcome party at the main band-house we all hung out at. The van pulls up, Brit hops out, and one of the first things he says is “RaflW, you big fag, how are you?!?!” with this grin and a hug.
Everyone fell silent. Brit looked around like, ‘wait, what.’ I can’t remember if I told him, or someone else, in that next moment. But of course the party carried on.
And I kinda never let him off the hook, in the most goodnatured ribbing sort of way.
Oh, that’s nice. I use it because it’s a really difficult job where I live and they’re brave- they walk into situations cops won’t. I just don’t care if they put pronouns at the end of emails. I don’t think it’s this insurmountable cultural difference between us.
I mostly get a kick out of them. I take notes longhand on a pad and they always compliment my handwriting. I have completely ordinary handwriting but 22 year olds don’t use cursive so they think it’s like calligraphy :)
I’ll give you one (1) guesses. And if you get this one wrong I may have to unfollow you. ;)
@Geminid: I’m one of the oldest “boomers”. Our children are in their 40s, because we’re in our 70s. I would think that’s true of a lot of GenX. My grandchildren are born since 2000, so I think they’re GenZ?
And did he hear it from white liberals who were using it, or from white conservatives who told him about how the white liberals were using it?
I dunno. The contexts in which I saw “Latinx” used unironically off the Internet in the 2010s were some kind of Latino left-activist group in Boston, and a book about the history of American xenophobia written by, I think, an Asian-American historian. Not a lot of white Democratic politicians wandering into Latino communities and throwing it around, but maybe I missed something.
Yeah, there’s always some people who get triggered by whatever that we can’t control. We can’t worry about that.
Thanks for saving the time I would have wasted by reading that article.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
@RaflW: I was a huge fan of Consolidated!
Nice one, I hadn’t heard that one before.
Many years ago, Mrs. SFAW and I were listening to Gabriel’s double live album. One time, when listening to “Biko,” she complained that even Peter Gabriel was using “hip” phrases as his chorus. She heard “Biko” as “Be Cool.” I explained to her what she was really hearing. Whoops!
@Matt McIrvin: Someone who switches parties over stuff like that was looking for an excuse to wear a MAGA hat all along, IMO. I find the leftist language police annoying sometimes. I sure as hell wouldn’t vote for DeSantis because of it.
@Suzanne: Well thank goodness I don’t work near construction. I have had such trading required every year for 27 years of state employment in Florida. Also before that as a work study student in College. Construction companies who perform work on campus have in their contract and in big signs around the safety fences that they can be sued and/or fired for cat calls, whistles or inappropriate remarks and the company banned from future state contracts. This happened a long long time ago. Over a generation and it’s old boring news. DeSantis is coming from a long ways away to state bureaucracy. Not just teacher, this is ALL the agencies. And I have seen employees fired over not following the training. In fact that is how professors and administrators get fired.
Matt McIrvin is sometimes a tad naive.
@Sister Golden Bear: Boomer here. I did worse than my parents. My dad did worse than my grandfather. Based on their career choices so far (which I love) my sons will probably be the fourth generation to follow in their parents’ footsteps.
(wish I could be naive-er than I am, honestly, this shit just burns me out sometimes.)
@SFAW: I’ve heard “Jee-eux sans frontières” interpreted as “She’s so popular”. Honestly it’s hard to tell what he’s singing there even if you know French.
@Matt McIrvin: I hear you (what verb is appropriate on the internet?) My feeling is whatever verb is offered. Hear, see, feel, smell. I am aware of your comment.
@JWR: Quit teasing you twerp!
@JWR: Bastard! I could guess wrong!
Just for the record, the wokeness the French are upset about is ending child marriage.
The previous time was establishing an age of consent
@Pharniel: Wait, what? Now I’m kind of glad I didn’t get past the paywall.
This time they’ve gone too far!
Just recently I heard a local NPR reporter reporting about the “LatinX community” along 4th Plain in Vancouver WA where there are lots of Mexican, Guatemalan, and Salvadoran immigrant shops and restaurants. We are talking about this neighborhood: https://goo.gl/maps/pwxxRx4NQRyG8NAc9 which is actually a great place to go in the greater Portland area for authentic tacos, pupusas, and empanadas.
However, I expect is it very likely that NOT ONE of the Latino businesses and immigrants who live and work in this area uses or prefers the term LatinX over Latino. But hey, it is the term that an educated white reporter chooses to use to describe this community because she knows better than they do.
@Kent: Interestingly, one of my kids elementary school teachers goes by “Maestre” instead of “Maestro” as a non-gendered title. Apparently this is kind of a thing, though some of the latin parents I’ve spoken to are a little skeptical. But are complying nonetheless.
Ha! When I first heard this song, thought he was singing “She’s so fun to wear”.
@Kent: Knowing NPR, they probably consider that behavior driving people to vote Republican as a benefit.
@delphinium: She’s so funky, yeah.
Track 4 on The Police’s “Ghost in the Machine” was just gibberish to these ears though:
Mais nous pouvons faire ce que nous voulons
J’Aurais Toujours Faim De Toi
Even if I understood French, FM radio on blown-up car speakers is terrible for getting song lyrics right.
I have absolutely ZERO objection to anyone using any titles or pronouns they want to for themselves. Such as this teacher in this instance.
I find it culturally presumptuous for white people to use new invented (and awkward) terms to describe a community that the community itself neither likes, wants, or uses themselves. And frankly, that is mostly what we are talking about here. Not entirely, but mostly. If you listen to how the term is used on news outlets like NPR it is almost entirely used to describe Hispanic immigrant communities, not communities of trans or queer people who happen to be Hispanic.
Or the bridge of “Psycho Killer”. Honestly, there wasn’t much reason for David Byrne to sing all that in French except to demonstrate that he’d studied the language, but maybe he was going for a Patrick Batemany pretentious vibe for his psycho killer before its time.
@Matt McIrvin: “I do think there’s a bit of a language pipeline where activists or academics in some marginalized community make up a term, then white liberals who are trying to be au courant and use inclusive language pick it up…”
That’s exactly accurate regarding “Latinx” in my experience. I know a fair number of activists and students who self-describe in this way and who have encouraged others (by example, not aggressively) to adopt it— which of course doesn’t mean there is any consensus support of it in the wider community, and maybe there never will be, but it does mean that comments along the lines of “The word was made up by white liberals who don’t understand other cultures!” are demonstrably untrue and irritating.
History is full of attempts to encourage different terminology for a variety of reasons; activists and students are always the most visible proponents. Some succeed, others are forgotten. “African American” is now very commonly accepted, but that wasn’t a sure thing— and that one arguably faced far fewer obstacles than “Latinx”, because the idea of gender-neutral language just isn’t nearly as well established in US culture (yet) as the idea of pan-Africanism was by the 1980s.
If I had to take a wild guess, I would predict that “Latine” is probably the one that will win out eventually because it’s less of an orthographic stretch, but that there will still be some people who prefer the x version and it will become sort of a subcultural marker. You could compare the honorific “Mx.”, which has been around for more than 40 years; it never became mainstream, but it’s understood in LGBTQ communities and it sometimes appears as an option on government/corporate forms.
@Baud: ding ding ding! We have a lucky winner.
Oh hell yes.
I saw the suburban Northern Virginia neighborhood I lived in go from lily-white toward relative diversity while I was living there, and I know there were many good old boys among us who were not happy about it.
@Hob: And there’s the euphemism treadmill, in which terms invented for a stigmatized group acquire the stigma, get repurposed as insults by the wider population, then get replaced with new neutral terms that eventually acquire the same stigma and we go around again. Terms for people with cognitive disabilities or mental illnesses are notorious for this and are so ingrained that it’s hard not to use them in invidious ways (you can surely find countless examples of me doing so here). But it doesn’t mean that it’s pointless to even make the effort.
@Baud: 0.999999 probability of being trolling. And good politics, the word is almost comically alien to the Spanish language and will have few defenders. Look all the publicity it got.
@Kent: If the objection is to white appropriation of marginalized activist language, rather than to the language itself, then total agreement. That’s just another axis by which supremacy is exerted.
Self-identification is one thing, but having it dragged into a prescriptive mainstream role by frankly not-at-all-progressive news outlets is… well, it would be an own-goal if they remotely opposed marginalization in the first place. Somehow I don’t get that impression.
Have to look neutral, after all. Views differ on shape of world, right to exist, etc. Why can’t we just get along exactly the way things are? Perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle (of the previous century).
@Hob: Most likely you are right but it has to have come from Latin people for which English is the dominant language. It is almost unpronounceable in Spanish.
Latine is being used in Latin America — I know it is being used by some in Argentina. It I’ll be very tough to break the masculine/feminine binary in Spanish but that final ‘e’ is really useful because you avoid constructions such as “compañeros y compañeras”. It can get really exhausting if you want to avoid using the masculine to include both genders. Then the ‘e’ is pretty handy. Not guaranteed but people can get used to it.
Latinx won’t go anywhere I think.
@Kent: Yes — If the Hispanic teacher wants to avoid maestro or maestra, maestre makes a lot of sense. They are an individual and Spanish forces you to use a noun that identifies with a sex. So this is equivalent to they/them but for nouns.
Using Latinx in English thou …
The term was not made up by white liberals.
However it is very frequently USED by white liberals to talk about and describe marginalized Hispanic immigrant communities who neither use the term themselves nor want it. I hear it constantly used that way.
Now we can get into an unproductive discussion about who has greater claim to the term Latino. Second/third/forth generation Hispanic activists on college campuses, or first generation Hispanic immigrants living in immigrant communities?
I would frankly suggest that neither really speaks for the other. Any more than young liberal white activists on college campuses speak for all white people. Or rural MAGA folk speak for all white people.
GenXers in the sample were 2% more disapproving than older Americans. That’s hardly enough to say that GenXers in general were more disapproving, unless the sample size was in the neighborhood of 2500. Which I strongly doubt.
At least on the basis of this poll, you can’t tell whether there’s a difference, or not, between Xers and older Americans on this question.
Is there anybody who works at AEI that ISN’T a full-blooded hemorrhoidal asshole?
And it looks like there was a ton of discussion of the meaning of this quite possibly illusory difference. Argh.